Editor’s Note: The AMI devotionals from June 29-July 3 are written by Pastor Ryun Chang.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 King 11:14-22: And the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite. He was of the royal house in Edom. 15 For when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army went up to bury the slain, he struck down every male in Edom 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom). 17 But Hadad fled to Egypt, together with certain Edomites of his father’s servants, Hadad still being a little child. 18 They set out from Midian and came to Paran and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house and assigned him an allowance of food and gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house. And Genubath was in Pharaoh’s house among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 But when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.” 22 But Pharaoh said to him, “What have you lacked with me that you are now seeking to go to your own country?” And he said to him, “Only let me depart.”
Freddie Mercury, from the famous rock group Queen, produced some legendary songs such as, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are the Champions” before succumbing to AIDS at 45. His most thoughtful song, however, was, “There Must Be More to Life Than This.” While decrying about the brokenness of the world caused by hate, Mercury was haunted by death: “What is life, in the end we all must die. There must be more to life than this.” The fact that this was said by someone who reached the pinnacle of success and all that it entails—money, power and fame—is why it shouldn’t easily be dismissed.
In today’s reading, we meet a child who, after seeing every member of his family killed, escaped to a foreign land. But beating all odds, Hadad the Edomite arose to the pinnacle of success, much like Freddie Mercury—while the latter sang for Queen, Hadad married into the family of the Queen of Egypt. Subsequently, Hadad had access to unprecedented privileges and wealth that no foreigner had likely enjoyed before or since. Who but Hadad’s son could have roamed the palace with the sons of Pharaoh? The Pharaoh, therefore, was puzzled when Hadad asked his permission to leave all that behind in order to return to his war ravaged homeland, asking, What have you lacked with me? To the bedazzled Pharaoh to whom life was about power, money and luxury, Hadad responded, “Do let me go”; that is, “There must be more to life than this.”
Sadly, both Hadad and Mercury looked to wrong places to find what they were searching for. Hadad tried to find it in taking back his nation from the Israelites—a noble cause—not realizing that the city of man, as opposed to “the city . . . whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10 NKJ), does not last. And judging from the fact that Mercury’s funeral service was conducted by a Zoroastrian priest, it is likely that the one who sang about the absurdity of life, never got to entrust his life to the One who overcame death: Jesus Christ.
If you, too, are crushed by the prospect of death, meet Jesus Christ who is able to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb. 2:14-5). Believe on him and receive an invitation to the city of God. Stop building your own city (read career, family, or even ministry) wherein God is not at the center.
Heavenly Father, I truly thank You for resolving one conflict that no human can find the cure for: death. No words can capture our appreciation for the stunning manner in which You allowed your own Son to die in our place so that we can have everlasting life by believing in Jesus Christ. Thank You!
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 17
Lunch Break Study
Read Mark 8:34-8: And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Luke 12:16-20: And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Question to Consider
- What does it mean to “gain the whole world” while forfeiting one’s soul?
- What are some false beliefs that lead us to neglect the matters of our soul?
- What is the true meaning of life? How can we ascertain it?
- It always means this: we are so caught up with getting ahead, so preoccupied with urgent matters, and focused on getting more that we become negligent in preparing ourselves to meet our Maker at death. Some never get to know God, while those who do know Him don’t do hardly anything to serve His cause.
- The parable of the rich fool held on to three false beliefs: first, I’ll die when I’m ready; second, I can take my wealth with me when I die; third, everything I own exists to make my life comfortable.
- The true meaning of life derives from knowing God through Jesus Christ and then to serve Him with total commitment and being generous towards Him.
Based on what you did and thought throughout today, would you say that you were living your life from the standpoint of meeting God one day or did you live to build a bigger “barn”? What are some adjustments that you need to make to ensure that the life that you live on earth is truly a life well- lived? Reflect. Pray.